Black Panther's Helmet
by Dale Wiese
’67 – ’68
After 36 years of stewardship of a sacred possession, the rightful owner has been found.
In 1967, I was the Crew Chief with 176th AHC. My UH-1D, named the “Oregon Taxi”, assisted in supporting two (2) Brigades of the 101st, 1/327, 2/327 and 2/502. The AO at that time was Que Son, Happy Valley’s, Tam Ky and points west.
Many occasions we conducted CC (Command and Control) missions with Company and Brigade Commanders. 1/327th was LTC. Jerry Morse, “Ghost Rider” and 2/327 was LTC. Edmund Abood “Black Panther”.
In these past 36 years, LTC. Abood has always stayed in memory. I never had the opportunity to personally meet the man, only fly him and his staff on CC flights, and into battle. Although, this man left a deep and impressing impact on me, for many years. LTC. Abood working closely with his young LT’s and SSgt in the thick of battle, to boxing on the beaches of Chu Lai.
It was approx. July ’67 was LTC. Abood’s last flight with me, just before the 1st Brigade was pulled from the field and sent to Chu Lai. The LTC. left his “Black Panther” flight helmet in my copter. I kept it in my helmet bag and stored on my copter for quite awhile, hoping to return to him on the next CC flight. Unfortunately, that never happened.
I was later assigned to the 5th Special Forces and Prairie Fire missions out of Khe Sahn and Long Vei. I believe during that time the 1st Brigade was reassigned further north, possibly Camp Evans.
Upon getting ready to DEROS, I still had the helmet, and I was not going to let any REMF take it from me. So, I had to pull the earphones and microphone of the helmet to render it useless or scrap. Then and only then was I able to ship it home, hence that is where it has stayed for 36 years.
After attending my first reunion in 2000, I am now ready for another closure and give up my sacred possession, “Black Panthers” flight helmet to the rightful owner, COL. Edmund Abood.
I have sent him his helmet, my sacred possession, but his memory is what really matters to me. I still see him in the Screaming Eagles newspaper, squaring off with his troops, letting anyone take the first swing. I can still hear him teaching, counseling, collaborating, and encouraging the troops on the ground in the thick of battle. LTC. Abood’s leadership was unique and will always be with me.
I wish COL. Abood and the complete 1st Brigade the best and long happy lives.
The 1st Brigade truly had “The Best”. (NFS)
Sincerely and Thanks to All of you,
CE, 176th AHC